training and skill building
Youth Speak works with young people to ensure not only that their ideas are supported, but that they have the necessary skills to resolve challenges among their teams and ensure project sustainability.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY - COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION AND CRISIS: HOW COMMUNITIES ORGANIZE AMID DISPLACEMENT AND CONFLICT
In partnership with the University of Ottawa’s Community Mobilization in Crisis team, Youth Speak is identifying, training, and supporting youth activists using open-source curriculum designed to respond to the specific community organizing needs of the Global South. The project will provide contextualized resources and learning opportunities from elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as South America, for young change-makers to gather ideas, avoid common obstacles in community organizing, and identify creative, locally resourced solutions to problems facing their communities.
This project will serve as a follow-up to a previous project conducted in partnership with CMIC, in which Youth Speak identified and interviewed community mobilizers from around the region to share their experiences, lessons learned, challenges, and successes. These interviews are being integrated into the open-source curriculum which is being used in the current project.
SOLIYA CONNECT PROGRAM
As part of their mentorship training, Youth Speak is partnering with Soliya to provide young people in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq training in 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, cross-cultural communication, and media literacy through Soliya's flagship program, Connect. The Connect Program allows young people the opportunity to engage with their peers across the globe on community issues through Soliya's online platform. Youth Speak then works with program participants to integrate and adapt the skills they learn through Connect into their community projects, providing them hands-on opportunities to put those skills to use in their everyday lives and community activism.
women's empowerment programming
Young people around the world, but particularly those exposed to conflict, often feel confined by social expectations and cultural norms of how they should behave-- something that can be especially true around gender and gender expression. Youth Speak works with young people to identify ways that they can express themselves in safe and constructive ways that benefit their communities.
WOMEN'S BOXING - AN EXERCISE IN COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
Youth Speak, in partnership with Arcaro Boxing Gym and Adii Sports, is in the process of setting up a 12-week boxing course, using synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods, aimed at young women in Duhok. In addition to developing new skills, participating women will gain confidence in themselves and one another as they work together in a supportive community.
RIDING FOR PEACE, FREEDOM, AND RIGHTS
Biking is common among young children in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, but once youth reach adolescence, most have given up on biking either as a pastime or as a mode of transportation. In partnership with IOM and 12 local organizations, this project grants young women increased access to public spaces, as well as access to exercise as a mode of psychosocial and physical wellbeing and the opportunity to meet young women from all different backgrounds during bike training and large community-wide biking events. To learn more about this initiative, click here.
arts and culture
Supporting arts and cultural initiatives is a key part of Youth Speaks' work. When the artistic and cultural ideas of young people are supported is when they feel they truly have a voice in what comes next.
With support from the Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, Youth Speak is partnering with local youth artists, writers, and readers in Duhok and surrounding IDP and refugee camps to design and install 20 Little Free Libraries. Each Little Library is being designed by a local youth artist, and Youth Speak is hosting a series of literacy events, including book exchanges, slam poetry events, and zine making workshops to develop local, contextualized access to books and opportunities for free expression.
Want to support any of these initiatives?